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    This study addresses a crucial gap in the literature by characterising the relationship between urethral tissue mechanics, composition and gross structure. We then utilise these data to develop a biomimetic urethral scaffold with physical properties that more accurately mimic the native tissue than existing gold standard scaffolds; small intestinal submucosa (SIS) and urinary bladder matrix (UBM). Nine human urethra samples were mechanically characterised using pressure-diameter and uniaxial extension testing. The composition and gross structure of the tissue was determined using immunohistological staining. A pressure stiffening response is observed during the application of intraluminal pressure. The elastic and viscous tissue responses to extension are free of regional or directional variance. The elastin and collagen content of the tissue correlates significantly with tissue mechanics. Building on these data, a biomimetic urethral scaffold was fabricated from collagen and elastin in a ratio that mimics the composition of the native tissue. The resultant scaffold is comprised of a dense inner layer and a porous outer layer that structurally mimic the submucosa and corpus spongiosum layers of the native tissue, respectively. The porous outer layer facilitated more uniform cell infiltration relative to SIS and UBM when implanted subcutaneously (p < 0.05). The mechanical properties of the biomimetic scaffold better mimic the native tissue compared to SIS and UBM. The tissue characterisation data presented herein paves the way for the development of biomimetic urethral grafts, and the novel scaffold we develop demonstrates positive findings that warrant further in vivo evaluation. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


    Eoghan M Cunnane, Niall F Davis, Connor V Cunnane, Katherine L Lorentz, Alan J Ryan, Jochen Hess, Justin S Weinbaum, Michael T Walsh, Fergal J O'Brien, David A Vorp. Mechanical, compositional and morphological characterisation of the human male urethra for the development of a biomimetic tissue engineered urethral scaffold. Biomaterials. 2021 Feb;269:120651

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    PMID: 33476892

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